SCA staff learn shooter disarming techniques
BY STEPHANIE BETTICK
CATAWISSA RR — In addition to teaching and helping students grow, a school’s job is to keep children safe under any circumstance.
The staff of Southern Columbia Area spent Monday’s in-service day learning tactics to identify potential threats and hands-on training to disarm an active shooter.
Sam Rosenberg, founder of INPAX Academy for Personal Protection, dispelled the “myth of randomness,” stating that when it comes to mass homicides, it is not a random process.
Between 2000 and 2013, the FBI reported 11.4 mass homicides per year, the most occurring in the work place followed by schools.
The number of attacks have not gone up, but according to Rosenberg, the body count has become worse.
The primary motivation for the attacker is attention, so they’ve developed a goal of “go big or go home” to establish notoriety.
Rosenberg said there’s a descent to the path of mass homicide beginning with a grievance and moving into a desire for justice. Fantasizing about justice doesn’t mean one is going to act out of violence, but it can turn into ideation for some.
All factors may fall into place, but it’s the final factor which acts as the largest step in prevention: Are there deterrents or can they pull off their crime?
Staff feedback on the presentation was positive. Many stated how crucial the information is in protecting students.
Kindergarten teacher Dan Hauer said, “When it comes down to it, we need to protect out students at all costs. Since we don’t know when something like this could happen, we need to educate and have a plan.”
Putting it into ‘action’
The physical aspect of the program involved the use of plastic guns for the staff to practice disarming tactics. Rosenberg taught “simple moves capable of being used under extreme duress.”
Participants were taught how to hold their hands to push the gun up at an angle before pushing it back down toward the shooter and taking it.
“No matter how big or small, everyone can push the gun up and away, even if they can’t disarm the shooter. You only have to get to step one,” said Rosenberg.
Staff ran through several disarming techniques from all angles as well as how to handle a shooter from a distance.
By throwing an item at the gunman to make them flinch, it gives time to get out of their peripheral vision and attempt to disarm them. It can only be done with the willingness to move forward and a warrior mindset, Rosenberg explained.
“Even though this looks like suicide, I’m here to tell you it’s not. Suicide is doing nothing,” he said.
Renae Carl, a paraprofessional, said she feels more confident after the training because she’s learned ways to take action and protect the students and herself.
Rosenberg said confidence is the biggest thing to come out of the training. The most common thing he hears from participants is they no longer feel helpless.
“After doing this for 12 years, what I can tell you is we have found a really critical balance between the physical and the cerebral in the ability to present a subject matter that is already scary. The goal is to empower, not to frighten.”
Hauer was happy the school invested in preventative safety measures. He said, “Schools need to be a safe place for students and staff. We will do whatever it takes to protect our students.”